An assortment of objects on a table – bread, a glass of wine, an oval tobacco box with brass fittings, a pipe and a coal pan with glowing embers – surrounds a pewter plate holding four opened oysters. A paper cone of peppercorns leans against the edge of the nearest plate. Two smoked herrings lie criss-cross in the left foreground, with a little bundle of matchsticks behind them.
The viewpoint is high: it seems as if the viewer is looking down on the table. The horizontal composition built up of individual elements placed separately is typical of still life painting in the first quarter of the seventeenth century.
Floris van Schooten worked in Haarlem, painting predominantly breakfast pieces, fruit still lifes, markets and kitchen scenes. He is also known to have painted some biblical works. This intimate work is a rare example of Floris van Schooten’s still lifes of the 1620s, and one of his best.


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